Survival mode….. A lifestyle that consumed me for so many years and one in which I have zero desire to go back to. A lifestyle where I thought I was living with purpose and direction but was doing the complete opposite. Some of you can relate, and if you know me, you can attest to this. One definition of survive is "to remain or continue in existence or use," and that’s exactly what I was doing: remaining and existing, with little to no personal or spiritual growth. I lived off lattes and an insane amount of caffeine, completed task after task, attended event after event, and wanted to help everyone. A lifestyle that allowed little to no rest and lacked authentic relationships. I said yes to everything that was thrown my way and had no idea how to establish balance, boundaries, or how to practice self-care. I found purpose in a busy schedule and felt like I was rushing through life. My marriage suffered, my health suffered, and my anxiety was at an all-time high. Most importantly, I completely lost sight of who I was uniquely created to be.
Eventually, something had to give and change was not only necessary, but crucial. There were a few things that led to this change, but the major breaking point came when I was faced with the tragedy of losing my stepfather. The man who gave me away on my wedding day, loved me like I was his very own, worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known, and always encouraged me with his humor and southern idioms. Although our time was cut short, I cherish the years I was blessed to have him as a father. There are really no words to describe the pain that comes with tragically losing a loved one and there’s no way of describing how it completely changes your perspective on life. There’s also no way to really describe grief and how it can leave you feeling completely hopeless. (I plan on sharing more about this experience in another blog, but for now, this tragedy is what took me to a place of brokenness I have never experienced and begin the process of transformation.)
In this place of brokenness, I found myself in complete surrender and full dependence on God as I struggled with how to cope. In this place, God took something that was intended to destroy my family and turned it into something that triggered freedom and a new beginning. It was the circumstance that helped me to realize that life is too short to live in survival mode. This transformation has not been easy, but it has brought so much peace and has helped me to experience what it means to thrive.
Now I don’t claim to have it all figured out, and I wish I could say Thriving Tiffany was more prevalent than Surviving Tiffany, but I’d be lying. Just because I found my rhythm, doesn’t mean that it’s easy to maintain. I’m a work in progress and some days I feel like the queen of the universe slaying everything that comes my way while other days I feel like the biggest failure. Overall, I am definitely in a better place and have learned how to establish healthy balance and boundaries. A place where I’m firm with my decisions and where I no longer strive for the approval of others. A place where I practice self-care and create more opportunities to be still for reflection and growth. As I continue to move forward in this journey of healing and trying to establish consistent balance and boundaries, I have to constantly realign myself with my values, God’s truth, and my purpose. This requires discipline, consistency in the Word, and saying no to things that don’t align with what I’m called to.
I recently saw a graphic tee that said, “surviving not thriving.” At first, I laughed, then I began to wonder how many people would admit to living in survival mode. Of course thriving sounds so much more appealing, however, the reality is that so many of us just merely survive and exist. I think that’s why people throw humor in the mix with this phrase as they find comfort in the chaos knowing they’re not the only ones holding on for dear life. I also think that although people laugh, they have a deep longing to thrive in all they do. I know that was the case for me while in survival mode. I always had a tug on my heart and deep down knew I was created for so much more. With this, I can’t help but encourage those in survival mode.
My hope is that people will be able to break free from strongholds that are hindering them from experiencing life the way God intended. If that’s you, I hope that you will choose to trust that your best days are ahead and that you can find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. You were CREATED to live life to the fullest, regardless of what is thrown your way. You are EQUIPPED to live above your circumstances and to always remember that God will never allow anything in your path that you can not handle, even though it may seem otherwise. Lastly, you are CAPABLE of discovering what THRIVING means for you!!
Let’s keep the conversation going! Comment below if you’ve ever struggled with being stuck in survival mode or find yourself there now!
I’d love to hear your story!